The Condo Act is clear that condo residents are entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their units.
While it may be unclear what constitutes quiet enjoyment, there are extreme cases where excessive noise is clearly disruptive.
Typically, noise may be the result of construction, parties or loud music. Most problems are easily rectified by use of area rugs, limiting construction to daytime hours or moving a television or radio away from a shared wall.
Management and the Board have an obligation to take proper measures when reasonable noise complaints are presented to them. Ignoring such situations can be problematic for residents and costly for the condo corporation.
One such complaint involved a tenant who converted her unit to a dance studio. A constant banging, documented by security in the building as sounding like a hammer, continued for many months. Management chose not to deal with the matter. However, they took additional steps to discourage the complainant from taking legal action against the corporation.
The complainant moved out and initiated legal action.
Thus far, the condo corporation has been assessed damages of more than $40,000 plus court costs of nearly $20,000. Claims against the condo corporation for pain and suffering plus loss of income, comfort and quiet enjoyment are pending.
Another extreme situation involving the courts was an owner that, according to affidavits, acted inappropriately towards various neighbours by hitting one in the neck, tampering with one’s cable TV service, encouraged threatening or aggressive behaviour by the pet Rottweiler, and spouting racist and homophobic obscenities. The condo board filed a lawsuit. A court order forced the owner to sell the condo.
As more people live close together, the incidence of noise problems is likely to increase. It is up to condo boards to establish rules of conduct and to enforce these rules for the benefit, safety and security of all.